Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I miss him every day

Do you know what..? People are amazing. For all of my years, I have wondered what the appropriate thing to do or say in this situation would be. How do you offer comfort and love and support to someone who has experienced such sadness and loss in their life? Would they rather just be left alone? And if I do approach them...what do I say? What if I say the wrong thing?

I am here to tell you that something is better than nothing. Although asking me how I am will probably result in a lie- a hug and acknowledgment in any form-be it a card or the miriad of food and treats or an "I'm thinking about you" or the beautiful flowers that have brightened our home or even a simple text- my family and I have felt a surprising amount of strength and comfort from even the smallest efforts. I am awed and grateful beyond words for the goodness and love of people. Truly, my cup runneth over.

The strength we have felt from the prayers of friends and family in our behalf has been obvious. I firmly believe that it is the lifting power of those prayers that has allowed us to enjoy sweet, tender experiences with each other and with dad in preparing for the funeral. I know that doesn't last forever. People get back to their daily lives and rountines and move on-as they should. We are expected to do the same. The comfort and strength that I felt before is definitely not constant anymore. It ebbs and flows now leaving me with more and more moments where I feel raw and exposed and just plain sad.

In those moments, I go back and re-read some of your inspired words. Many were writen to mom that she then shared.

Dad was a great thinker and an amazing writer. He would appreciate the beauty of these written thoughts. I want to share a few...perhaps there is comfort here available for others as well.

Those memories together in the hospital are precious moments that have impacted my life forever. Hearing the news that your dear husband had passed away was honestly one of the greatest moments of loss I have ever experienced. I could only imagine how heartbreaking this news was for you. My heart went out to you; it broke with yours. How helpless we feel at those moments; how acutely aware we become of the fragility of life. I was reminded of the beauty of the plan of salvation as the doctor expressed his testimony that, “God has a plan for us.” He does have a plan for us. And that gave me comfort. While I was caught away in the grief of the moment, I rejoiced that he truly had only been “transferred” to his next area—his next assignment—received “into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where [he] shall rest from all [his] troubles and from all care, and sorrow” (Alma 40:12). (from one of the elders mom had called for help)

Your father died too young—at least as earth lives go. But, we know he died in the Lord, while doing what he was called to do. And, in the Lord’s concept of time and eternity, his passing was right on time…right on time for the next calling…right on time for his next lesson...right on time for the lessons we have yet to learn.

I'm sure there is purpose and meaning in what happened, whether known or not. Regardless, Doug's passing has a bitterness for you and all of us that will not easily subside. Although there is comfort and balm available in the atonement of our Saviour there is a natural and God-intended hardship and sorrow that each must pass through to one degree or other. I don't mean to dwell on the obvious, but I do want each of you to know of our prayers on your behalf and our desires to stay in better contact with you all. It is times like these that the true value of family and our ties that bind us together in eternal ways becomes more apparent as the more petty distractions of life are stripped away.
These next days will be busy and unrelenting in their requirements, but in a short period of time you will begin to feel the quiet peace that the Lord promises. It does not take away all the pain, but it does help us to accept in our souls that God is merciful and kind. He understands this part of the plan of salvation quite well and has made sufficient provision to comfort those who have faith in Him.

Family on Mom's side:

There are no words that can adequately express the pain and grief we feel at the passing of a loved one. For those we truly love, we tend to hold on to that pain and extend that grief sometimes longer than we know we should. We do so because that pain, in some therapeutic way, helps us feel and remain closer to the one who has passed. We fear that to let go of the pain would be tantamount to betrayal of that one we wish were still here. And, while we believe with all our heart in the continued life we’ve been taught, there are still questions unanswered. It is at this time that we are forced to exercise our greatest faith. What a blessing it is to have the teachings and knowledge of the Gospel in
our lives.

Family on dad's side:
Good timber does not grow with ease,
the stroger the wind, the stronger the trees;
The further the sky, the greater the length;
The more the storm, the more the strength.
By sun and cold and rain and snow,
in trees and men, good timbers grow.
Your dad was such a man!
*thank you to Brandt and Emma and Nicole for all of the photos*

Monday, February 27, 2012

A birthday breakfast at Mimi's and a shameless plug for my favorite author

We celebrated Christian's birthday with breakfast at Mimi's Cafe before Kelli and her family had to head back to California. I find myself wanting to hold tight to my family. To never, ever let them go. But since I don't get to decide, I know I must and so we tried to soak up every minute we were together. In my opinion, sharing the most important meal of the day is a great way to do that. Add in Mimi's very indulgent hot chocolate and you have a party!

Christian has some generous aunts and uncles and scored with great gift cards and a car charger for his phone, a stylin' outfit and some beef jerkey-of course. But the gift of all gifts came from the kindergarter in the group. Jill spent hours making Christian a book. Priceless-I tell ya.

Christian read out loud and then, with Jill guiding his arm, turned the book around to show everyone the pictures. We ooohed and ahhhed until Erick got jealous because noone ever seemed to like his gifts that much.

Here are a couple of exerpts for your enjoyment....
"Me and Christian were watching the sunset-rainbow go away from in the east. Me and Christian had to have sleeves and pants because it was very, very cold."

"Me and Christian were laying down and watching the ants crawl and there was a king ant with green jewels. The butterflies and bees were very beautiful and we watched them fly around."

It's very poetic, don't you think?

I am hoping Jill decides to make it into a series. I can't wait for the sequel. Or for the next time we are all together.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Happy 18th Birthday Beauiful Boy

I am so lucky to be your momma...

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The gift of being his daughter

Dear Dad,
You have left us so suddenly and unexpectedly that I can hardly catch my breath. Mom called and told me your heart had stopped and now it feels as though mine will never beat the way it should again. Why dad? What could possibly make you think that we would be okay here without you?
I asked you that question when I went to the abandoned parking lot to talk to you. I heard you tell me, as you have on so many different occasions,
"Lori, sweetheart, you'll figure it out. I know you can do it."
It's just that I don't want to do it without you. I need you, dad.
People tell me -and I too know it to be true- that you will be with us. That we wont have to do it alone. Only right now, I ache, literally ache, for your touch. For your hug or the way you would squeeze my arm when you could no longer squeeze my hand. Am I weak to want your physical presence when I can feel you close by?
There are a few things I need you to know, dad. I wish we could skype one more time so I could look into your eyes and tell you how proud I am of you. You never, ever stopped trying to improve yourself. In every way.
You were the most physically fit person I've ever known. I've never know you not to be up before everyone else and exercising. You just got more physically active as you aged. Your son-in-law was a little intimidated when he first saw you without a shirt and discovered that you had muscles he had only ever dreamed of having. And you took the advice to "eat your greens" to a whole new level. You ate them raw, blended, chopped, baked and sauteed. After you had tilled, planted, tended and harvested them, of course. I was planning to plant raspberries this spring with your help. Rasberries are a little tempermental I'm told. Yours were the most well behaved, beautiful, delicious raspberries on the planet. Now what am I going to do?
You were always improving your mind. You read, and read, and read. Your voracious appetite for learning and studying sometimes left the more simple-minded of us struggling to catch up. I'll never forget when Jordan and I were dating and you wanted to let him know of your gratitude for "taking on your daughter." You told him you thought he was 'magnaminous'. He looked at me like he wasn't sure if he had just been complemented or berated. Jordan learned quickly,though, that you thought the world of him. The feeling was mutual. Jordan loved you,dad. But I think you knew that. He has lost his favorite golf and tennis partner.
You committed to improving every one of your relationships. You told each of us often that you loved us and were proud of us. But beyond that-you showed us. You were the first to notice a need (sometimes before we even noticed it ourselves) and the first to make every attempt at meeting that need. From folding Jodi's laundry to cleaning out my garages, to working in Kelli's yard, to being an untiring tennis parter to Erick-even when that meant heading out late at night when all you wanted to do was to go to bed-we knew we could always count on you. And the best part-we never felt like we had to qualify for it or meet a list of requirements before we were eligible for your love and service. It truely felt unconditional.
But the relationship you worked most on enhancing and improving was with your Savior and our Father in Heaven. Your heart became more and more moldable and tender as you opened it further and further to the Lord's will. I have watched you serve in every capacity willingly and determinedly. And then to offer up your life in His service as a full time missionary in Washington DC at the stage of life where you could finally sit back, relax, and spend some uninterrupted time on the golf course, speaks volumes to us as to what your priorities were. There are moments when I selfishly wish that I had not had to share you with the missionaries and marines in DC the last 2 1/2 months of your life, but I know that you were fulfilling a life long dream and were unbelievably happy. I would never wish to take that away from you.
You showed us what it means to "endure to the end." Only the end came too soon for me. There is still so much I wanted to share and so much I had to learn from your wisdom.
I want you to be proud of me. I want to be worthy to be called your daughter. I cannot begin to express how grateful I am that I had 43 years to call you "dad." It is a gift I don't deserve.
I love you with all of my broken heart.
Your daughter,
Douglas Edward Plummer

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

It was a GIANT(s) superbowl party!

In between gorging on cowboy caviar and chips
and pigs in a blanket (or as Erick was trying to convince Miles-donkeys in a pillowcase), baked brie and fruit and antipasto kabobs (love you Pinterest) and brownies, and cookies and 7-layer nacho dip and barbequed meatballs...
Jodi taking a food break
We took in THE game. (Although I think this is a shot of Jodi and Pat gawking at 54 year old Madonna during halftime) By the way...thank's for hosting. WHY can't I get the underline thingy off???
Brittney isn't necessarily a football fan but she is a food fan (and a family fan)
Jordan telling me off for getting too close with the camera.
As you can see from Erick's shirt, we were pretty split on which teams we were cheering for.
Love him. Even if he is a Patriot's fan.
My team. I totally scored.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Evolution of a House

We had been looking at houses for 3 years. It had almost become a hobby. Our kids were ages 7,5, and 3 and it had become their biggest nightmare. We tried to sneak it on them, we tried putting on a movie in the car, we tried bribing with treats but the second we got in the car together they were suspicious. I think they're all scarred for life. There is a chance that none of them will ever be able to search for a home of their own in the future.

We put in a couple of half-hearted offers on land as far north as Bountiful and a home with a blue tin roof south in Sandy-but nothing felt right. We loved our little house on Chapel Street, but had wanted a little more room. I always felt that I would just "know" when a house was right for us. I had yet to get that knowing feeling and had begun to chastize myself for being such a foolish idealist. When I became pregnant with Gabe, the search began to feel too intense and we both just decided that we were happy to stay put. We concentrated instead on how we were going to make the space we had work.

And then a friend mentioned she had driven by a house for sale just a few short miles from us. I balked at the idea of going through yet another disapointing dead end but indulged my friend and made an appointment. Nervously, I rang the doorbell and was greeted by the handsome home owner who invited me in to the front foyer.

It was at that moment that this foolish idealist knew that she was home.

We have loved everything about this house. We love our neighborhood, we love the schools, we love the ward and we love our friendships we have created here. It was where we were supposed to be. It was an answer to prayer.

14 years ago, our house looked like this:

Then a couple of years ago, we made some changes to the driveway and the landscaping.
Today, with the anticipation of a new, attached garage, it looks like this:
It's a little tricky with all of the different elevations.
When we moved in our kitchen looked like this: It still had the original 1936 cabinets.
Then this update. Still with the original 1936 cabinets (aside from the stainless steel shelves behind the girls).
A couple of weeks ago it looked like this:
Notice the old coal burning fireplace that was behind my kitchen cabinet. The spice cabinet, to be extact-as that was the only thing that would fit in that shallow space.
Today it looks like this:
My dream...a family room!
Jordan and builder, Jeff. Best. Builder. Ever.

A view from the "old" into the "new."
The basement 14 years ago: Christian didn't have to worry about hitting his head on the ceiling back then.
The basement today:
Jordan poses with his "baby." Only when it was his baby, it wasn't pink. I am a fan of this stuff. After all, it is what has made all of this possible.
I usually have a strong aversion to change. I've decided in the case of our home, I'm more than willing to make an exception. After all, with every change I just fall more in love.